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stormguy80

Reconsider majoring in meteorology!

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I suggest that all Met undergrads test the real-world market as soon as they can. For example, make your interests known to your professors, volunteer on grad research projects, seek out industry internships both public and private. This is a way to learn not only the science but also the level of demand for your skills.

..snip..

Even at the high school level those interested in weather can and should start checking out the market. In the process you'll also discover your other talents and interests. Don't wait until you graduate college to find out, or you might wind up settling for a job you don't like. Meteorology is fascinating, and I admire those who can make a career out of it. Start early learning if you can be one of those.

Yes...yes...YES!!!! I totally agree with all this!!!

--Turtle ;)

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I will try to simplify the original rant and some of the comments and advice from others:

1. Get an advanced degree. Plan to go to grad school.

2. Get a student internship or something similar. Getting your foot in the door and making "inside connections" is an obvious plus. This is one of those things that people love having, but people who don't have it often get very frustrated about it.

3. Make yourself marketable. Every applicant to every meteorology job has a meteorology degree. If that's all you have, then you don't have anything. Do you know GIS? Do you know Java or Python (Is there a class or classes offered at your school? Take them! But a whole big double major in comp sci isn't necessary, IMO). Are you proficient in Unix (again, take a class)? How about leadership? Are you president of your local AMS Chapter (volunteer to take on a role, any role)? Did you help some boy scouts get their meteorology merit badges? What about social science? That's a bigger one than most people would imagine, but you'd probably need some help from someone "in the know" about how to effectively market yourself with that particular combination. Any of those things are great, and you don't need all of them. IMO, a math degree is pretty much useless if you looking to get ahead for a forecasting position. Forecasters don't do math. Ask yourself if you are supplementing your met degree with something practical. Meteorology is cross-disciplinary.

4. Prove your ambition. This can be grouped with item 2, but is also separate. Did you do any research as an undergraduate? It's even better if it was published or presented. It's not as if you have to be the first author or even the presenter. Your professors are well-entrenched in the world of academia. More than likely, they could use someone to do some grunt work for them for their research. If you're a quality student, they'd probably trust you to do it or at least trust you to help. During your time in the meteorology department, do you have anything to show for yourself besides a piece of paper that says "B.S. in Meteorology"?

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I will try to simplify the original rant and some of the comments and advice from others:

1. Get an advanced degree. Plan to go to grad school.

2. Get a student internship or something similar. Getting your foot in the door and making "inside connections" is an obvious plus. This is one of those things that people love having, but people who don't have it often get very frustrated about it.

3. Make yourself marketable. Every applicant to every meteorology job has a meteorology degree. If that's all you have, then you don't have anything. Do you know GIS? Do you know Java or Python (Is there a class or classes offered at your school? Take them! But a whole big double major in comp sci isn't necessary, IMO). Are you proficient in Unix (again, take a class)? How about leadership? Are you president of your local AMS Chapter (volunteer to take on a role, any role)? Did you help some boy scouts get their meteorology merit badges? What about social science? That's a bigger one than most people would imagine, but you'd probably need some help from someone "in the know" about how to effectively market yourself with that particular combination. Any of those things are great, and you don't need all of them. IMO, a math degree is pretty much useless if you looking to get ahead for a forecasting position. Forecasters don't do math. Ask yourself if you are supplementing your met degree with something practical. Meteorology is cross-disciplinary.

4. Prove your ambition. This can be grouped with item 2, but is also separate. Did you do any research as an undergraduate? It's even better if it was published or presented. It's not as if you have to be the first author or even the presenter. Your professors are well-entrenched in the world of academia. More than likely, they could use someone to do some grunt work for them for their research. If you're a quality student, they'd probably trust you to do it or at least trust you to help. During your time in the meteorology department, do you have anything to show for yourself besides a piece of paper that says "B.S. in Meteorology"?

Excellent post, IMHO. :D

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Here's something else anyone looking into meteorology should know, particularly if they're already considering the possibility of a graduate degree:

Graduate students in this field are almost universally paid employees of the university they work for, and their tuition is waived by the department (for TA's) or their advisor's grant (for RA's). So not only will you pay little or no tuition in graduate school; you'll also be paid a stipend that's comparable to an entry-level job in forecasting. And if you're fortunate enough to get a fellowship, you might well make more as a graduate student than your peers make in the private sector for their first year or two.

I guess my point is that graduate school for meteorology should not be seen as a financial burden. Unlike some other fields, where doing your M.S. is a short-term financial investment for long-term financial gain, this is usually a wash even during the years you're in school. (Of course, that speaks as much to the horrid job market for B.S. grads as to the relatively cushy situation grad students enjoy, lol).

Just throwing that out there since I didn't realize it until I was at least midway through my undergrad degree.

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I will try to simplify the original rant and some of the comments and advice from others:

1. Get an advanced degree. Plan to go to grad school.

2. Get a student internship or something similar. Getting your foot in the door and making "inside connections" is an obvious plus. This is one of those things that people love having, but people who don't have it often get very frustrated about it.

3. Make yourself marketable. Every applicant to every meteorology job has a meteorology degree. If that's all you have, then you don't have anything. Do you know GIS? Do you know Java or Python (Is there a class or classes offered at your school? Take them! But a whole big double major in comp sci isn't necessary, IMO). Are you proficient in Unix (again, take a class)? How about leadership? Are you president of your local AMS Chapter (volunteer to take on a role, any role)? Did you help some boy scouts get their meteorology merit badges? What about social science? That's a bigger one than most people would imagine, but you'd probably need some help from someone "in the know" about how to effectively market yourself with that particular combination. Any of those things are great, and you don't need all of them. IMO, a math degree is pretty much useless if you looking to get ahead for a forecasting position. Forecasters don't do math. Ask yourself if you are supplementing your met degree with something practical. Meteorology is cross-disciplinary.

4. Prove your ambition. This can be grouped with item 2, but is also separate. Did you do any research as an undergraduate? It's even better if it was published or presented. It's not as if you have to be the first author or even the presenter. Your professors are well-entrenched in the world of academia. More than likely, they could use someone to do some grunt work for them for their research. If you're a quality student, they'd probably trust you to do it or at least trust you to help. During your time in the meteorology department, do you have anything to show for yourself besides a piece of paper that says "B.S. in Meteorology"?

+10000

Good post. Make yourself stand out, diversify, take on new challenges, learn how to communicate (absolutely vital in science right now), make connections/contacts, work on the aesthetics of your resume to make it look sharp.

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Does the university of your undergraduate degree assist in any advantage in job prospects?

We had a co-op program that assisted in placing I would say almost anyone who wanted an internship into one. Career services exist at every college, and they're often an untapped resource. They can help.

Edit: I may have misread the OP...oops!

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Does the university of your undergraduate degree assist in any advantage in job prospects?

It has a certain weight, but most of the time it's just not relevant. The differences between applicants are significant enough that the decision almost never comes down to the schools that awarded them their degrees. All else being equal, they would take the person from the more highly regarded program - and you should choose the more highly regarded program if you have the option - but it's statistically unlikely that all else is equal to begin with. If a WFO is co-located with a college campus, however, you could obviously have some great opportunities there. You might never work at that particular office, but they still might have a relationship with the meteorology department that could get you some experience or insights that you wouldn't get otherwise. And if there were an opening at that office, then you might benefit from having attended that school, imo. I say that because they would be familiar with that department and would, theoretically, have a good idea of what they were going to get from you. But again, you would still need a superior skill set when compared to the other applicants. So...the answer is still pretty much "no."

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I greatly appreciate all the advice from professionals currently in the field and their personal experiences. After reading thoroughly through each comment in this topic I've learned I need a backup plan or two. I'm about halfway through my undergraduate studies and am recently considering adding another major in addition to graduate school. I'm also realizing that my first major in Global and Environmental Change alone likely won't get me anywhere. I've learned a lot from these online discussions about the industry, the science, and high competition in the field.

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I feel compelled to comment on this debate. I have a BS in Atmospheric Science and a MS in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. For me, the greatest part about being in the physical sciences is that meteorology in and of itself is very much an interdisciplinary study. The course load you take will be heavy in mathematics/physics and computer science. Those disciplines combined make you a very attractive candidate for a variety of positions that could either be in the meteorology, mathematics, or the computer science field. Obviously, most people here want to become operational forecasters, but those jobs are of course not the easiest to land. However, meteorology provides you with such a diverse background that the opportunities to land a job in some sort of related field (e.g. oceanography) are endless. Meteorology, I would wager, is one of the few majors that really gives you an opportunity to broaden your horizons and take an entry-level job that you really never thought you would be interested in. I, personally, work as an oceanographer now after having a strong background in atmospheric science. Experience plays a great roll in helping you land your dream job, and I believe Meteorology is a great major to enter into that would make you an attractive candidate to a multitude of employers. The bottom line is, don't let job statistics deter you from entering into Meteorology. The positives that an interdisciplinary major provides you with strongly outweighs any negative job statistics.

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Everything you said is valid - these things will all help. But the thing is mets are pretty smart people and those reading will likely follow your advice if they choose to stick with it. Many others have on their own accord. So once everyone is trying to do these things to "get ahead', in the end everyone ends up back where they are all similar and the original problem is still there - far more mets than jobs. Believe it or not I have a job now..I'm one of the luckier ones and even managed to move beyond my sweatshop years into something better but still not that good. But still after 8 years of experience and very strong performance reviews I'm still unable to break into the NWS after trying more than a year.

I will try to simplify the original rant and some of the comments and advice from others:

1. Get an advanced degree. Plan to go to grad school.

2. Get a student internship or something similar. Getting your foot in the door and making "inside connections" is an obvious plus. This is one of those things that people love having, but people who don't have it often get very frustrated about it.

3. Make yourself marketable. Every applicant to every meteorology job has a meteorology degree. If that's all you have, then you don't have anything. Do you know GIS? Do you know Java or Python (Is there a class or classes offered at your school? Take them! But a whole big double major in comp sci isn't necessary, IMO). Are you proficient in Unix (again, take a class)? How about leadership? Are you president of your local AMS Chapter (volunteer to take on a role, any role)? Did you help some boy scouts get their meteorology merit badges? What about social science? That's a bigger one than most people would imagine, but you'd probably need some help from someone "in the know" about how to effectively market yourself with that particular combination. Any of those things are great, and you don't need all of them. IMO, a math degree is pretty much useless if you looking to get ahead for a forecasting position. Forecasters don't do math. Ask yourself if you are supplementing your met degree with something practical. Meteorology is cross-disciplinary.

4. Prove your ambition. This can be grouped with item 2, but is also separate. Did you do any research as an undergraduate? It's even better if it was published or presented. It's not as if you have to be the first author or even the presenter. Your professors are well-entrenched in the world of academia. More than likely, they could use someone to do some grunt work for them for their research. If you're a quality student, they'd probably trust you to do it or at least trust you to help. During your time in the meteorology department, do you have anything to show for yourself besides a piece of paper that says "B.S. in Meteorology"?

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Yes, stick with it if you really love it but have a backup plan.

I greatly appreciate all the advice from professionals currently in the field and their personal experiences. After reading thoroughly through each comment in this topic I've learned I need a backup plan or two. I'm about halfway through my undergraduate studies and am recently considering adding another major in addition to graduate school. I'm also realizing that my first major in Global and Environmental Change alone likely won't get me anywhere. I've learned a lot from these online discussions about the industry, the science, and high competition in the field.

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I feel compelled to comment on this debate. I have a BS in Atmospheric Science and a MS in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. For me, the greatest part about being in the physical sciences is that meteorology in and of itself is very much an interdisciplinary study. The course load you take will be heavy in mathematics/physics and computer science. Those disciplines combined make you a very attractive candidate for a variety of positions that could either be in the meteorology, mathematics, or the computer science field. Obviously, most people here want to become operational forecasters, but those jobs are of course not the easiest to land. However, meteorology provides you with such a diverse background that the opportunities to land a job in some sort of related field (e.g. oceanography) are endless. Meteorology, I would wager, is one of the few majors that really gives you an opportunity to broaden your horizons and take an entry-level job that you really never thought you would be interested in. I, personally, work as an oceanographer now after having a strong background in atmospheric science. Experience plays a great roll in helping you land your dream job, and I believe Meteorology is a great major to enter into that would make you an attractive candidate to a multitude of employers. The bottom line is, don't let job statistics deter you from entering into Meteorology. The positives that an interdisciplinary major provides you with strongly outweighs any negative job statistics.

I agree with this and was going to post something similar.

A lot of what was said in this thread is true if you're deadset on just becoming an operational forecaster. However, in terms of degrees, a meteorology degree is extremely useful. While the forecasting job market may not be the best, a meteorology degree can help you get into other related physical science fields (oceanography for example), environmental science jobs (which, from what I've been told, have a much better employment/graduation ratio and can also pay well in the environmental consulting fields), teaching (for physics, math, etc.), and a whole host of other opportunities. It is very multidisciplinary and is a good thing to have your side. Some people in this thread make a B.S. in meteorology sound like a bad choice - this may be true, but only if you're extremely limited in your worldview as to what you want or are able to do for a career.

Secondly, this thread does seem very heavily forecasting-biased, but I guess a lot of this board is. While I don't have too much experience in these things still being an undergrad, graduate school and the research side of meteorology seems to have a lot more opportunities that aren't discussed here much. I, like many others, it seems, went into undergrad fully expecting to be a forecaster and wanting to do that. The more I learn, though, the more I realize I am not that into forecasting and really get excited by research on a wide variety of topics. (Learning what you're really interested in / good at is the point of college, right? arrowheadsmiley.png). One of my academic advisors helped quell some of my concerns on this view topic by telling me that as of this past year every one of his grad students (he is the graduate school advisor) has found a job right out of school. While even that may not be typical (and isn't typical of our undergrad classes, which have been met with very mixed success), it perhaps is not as dismal as some here are portraying. That said, graduate school is definitely not for everyone... but it is something to consider.

I guess what I agree with most is that it is important to have a wide range of interests. I am minoring in Environmental Science (who knows where my career path will take me?) and doing internships to get a sense of if research is for me, etc. I think there are plenty of opportunities out there for meteorologists - they just might not all be at your local WFO or your local TV broadcast met office, that's all. :)

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The oversupply of qualified meteorologists has drastic consequences that go far beyond the difficulty of simply finding a job. If you are lucky enough to break into the field you will have to go wherever the job takes you since few are fortunate enough to get enough offers allowing them to be choosy. The 2nd major thing is salary and work environment. The oversupply has driven salary levels down to obscenely low levels. Since NWS jobs are incredibly competitive to get (only about 40 openings a year and hundreds of job seekers) most are forced to obtain employment in the private sector where starting salaries are in the 21-25 k range. I can tell from experience that in the early 2000s, $20,000 / year was a common number. What’s more, raises are often very small and if you do manage to last long enough to climb close to 30 k, you will have a high risk of being laid off unless you have well above average forecasting skills as companies prefer the cheap labour they can get from eager and willing new grads. Since the private companies have so much leverage over employees due to the oversupply, the workload and the work environment is extremely demanding. Why? They can get away with it because if you quit you are easily replaceable!

If this weren't a weather board I'd swear you were talking about truck driving. What you described is almost dead-on in the transportation field as well.

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If this weren't a weather board I'd swear you were talking about truck driving. What you described is almost dead-on in the transportation field as well.

This is a good point. Gaining a meteorology or any earth science job is just like pursuing openings in any other job field. How much are you willing to do to make yourself standout from the competition and what are you willing to sacrifice in order to get the job you want? It's all up to the individual and there are no magical shortcuts.

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It's not though. that's the thing. You are right that in most fields its challenging finding a job, especially today, but when most people complain that it took them 6 months of a year or whatever to find a job, they weren't even looking far outside of the area where they live.

With meteorology its almost a gaurentee you'll have to move but even with this mindset it's still almost impossible finding a job even after opening up your job search nation wide. Also, I don't know of any other field requiring a similiar level of education that has salaries starting in the 20-25 k range. I challenge anyone to name one.

This is a good point. Gaining a meteorology or any earth science job is just like pursuing openings in any other job field. How much are you willing to do to make yourself standout from the competition and what are you willing to sacrifice in order to get the job you want? It's all up to the individual and there are no magical shortcuts.

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It's not though. that's the thing. You are right that in most fields its challenging finding a job, especially today, but when most people complain that it took them 6 months of a year or whatever to find a job, they weren't even looking far outside of the area where they live.

With meteorology its almost a gaurentee you'll have to move but even with this mindset it's still almost impossible finding a job even after opening up your job search nation wide. Also, I don't know of any other field requiring a similiar level of education that has salaries starting in the 20-25 k range. I challenge anyone to name one.

While this may be true, for some people it's just not possible to look outside the region where they live. Take me for example. If I were in a career where it would be likely I'd have to move to get a job, since my wife WILL NOT leave the region, I'd either be jobless or divorced.

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It's not though. that's the thing. You are right that in most fields its challenging finding a job, especially today, but when most people complain that it took them 6 months of a year or whatever to find a job, they weren't even looking far outside of the area where they live.

With meteorology its almost a gaurentee you'll have to move but even with this mindset it's still almost impossible finding a job even after opening up your job search nation wide. Also, I don't know of any other field requiring a similiar level of education that has salaries starting in the 20-25 k range. I challenge anyone to name one.

You get what you give. It's that simple. If you didn't get selected for a postion...it's because you failed to make yourself number 1. This is the same in any industry. Salary increases work the same way. No one is going to give you something for nothing.

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Yes, obviously that is true. But the point is in most industries if you work hard, and do all the other right things (have the right attitude, network, ect) things will eventually fall into place since in most fields the supply / demand curve isn’t as badly skewed. The point is that in meteorology you can do all these right things and still not make it simply because there are far more mets than jobs. Yes, some of the people that don’t make it won’t because they didn’t work very hard or have the right attitude but many others are terrific candidates for jobs but still won’t make it since the competition is that fierce. This is the message I’m trying to get across. BTW, I’m doing pretty well. You may think I’m some unemployed met or something. That’s not the case. I’ve got a pretty good job but am trying to advance and finding it virtually impossible even with years of experience and strong performance reviews, etc..I know for a fact I’ve made it into the top 10% of applicants for positions but just not the top 1%. In any other field I’d have the job I’m looking for by now.

You get what you give. It's that simple. If you didn't get selected for a postion...it's because you failed to make yourself number 1. This is the same in any industry. Salary increases work the same way. No one is going to give you something for nothing.

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Yes, obviously that is true. But the point is in most industries if you work hard, and do all the other right things (have the right attitude, network, ect) things will eventually fall into place since in most fields the supply / demand curve isn’t as badly skewed. The point is that in meteorology you can do all these right things and still not make it simply because there are far more mets than jobs. Yes, some of the people that don’t make it won’t because they didn’t work very hard or have the right attitude but many others are terrific candidates for jobs but still won’t make it since the competition is that fierce. This is the message I’m trying to get across. BTW, I’m doing pretty well. You may think I’m some unemployed met or something. That’s not the case. I’ve got a pretty good job but am trying to advance and finding it virtually impossible even with years of experience and strong performance reviews, etc..I know for a fact I’ve made it into the top 10% of applicants for positions but just not the top 1%. In any other field I’d have the job I’m looking for by now.

I never assumed you were an unemployed met.

Yes the competition pool is high in met...but probably not the highest on the job market. I know the IT field and other earth science fields have a very high competition pool as well. It all really boils down to knowing what you need to do in order to put yourself at the top and into the interview pool.

We all know the competition is high...but that isn't a valid excuse if we dont get the job. It is all on us, for either not knowing the level of our competition or for not taking the appropriate measures in our careers to be highly competitive.

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I will try to simplify the original rant and some of the comments and advice from others:

1. Get an advanced degree. Plan to go to grad school.

2. Get a student internship or something similar. Getting your foot in the door and making "inside connections" is an obvious plus. This is one of those things that people love having, but people who don't have it often get very frustrated about it.

3. Make yourself marketable. Every applicant to every meteorology job has a meteorology degree. If that's all you have, then you don't have anything. Do you know GIS? Do you know Java or Python (Is there a class or classes offered at your school? Take them! But a whole big double major in comp sci isn't necessary, IMO). Are you proficient in Unix (again, take a class)? How about leadership? Are you president of your local AMS Chapter (volunteer to take on a role, any role)? Did you help some boy scouts get their meteorology merit badges? What about social science? That's a bigger one than most people would imagine, but you'd probably need some help from someone "in the know" about how to effectively market yourself with that particular combination. Any of those things are great, and you don't need all of them. IMO, a math degree is pretty much useless if you looking to get ahead for a forecasting position. Forecasters don't do math. Ask yourself if you are supplementing your met degree with something practical. Meteorology is cross-disciplinary.

4. Prove your ambition. This can be grouped with item 2, but is also separate. Did you do any research as an undergraduate? It's even better if it was published or presented. It's not as if you have to be the first author or even the presenter. Your professors are well-entrenched in the world of academia. More than likely, they could use someone to do some grunt work for them for their research. If you're a quality student, they'd probably trust you to do it or at least trust you to help. During your time in the meteorology department, do you have anything to show for yourself besides a piece of paper that says "B.S. in Meteorology"?

This is the only way to go about your time as an undergraduate and if you can do this effectively (take on internships and any opportunity that presents itself) you will become marketable. Based on my experience, the people who put that extra time in with unpaid internships have been able to at least land part time jobs right out of college or at least get interviews. Thinking about it now, there are 4-5 of us in that category of part time/full time jobs and we all sacrificed time and money working at the NWS, private companies, or broadcast stations while at school.

A degree in meteorology on your resume says nothing. That along side a minor, an internship or two, a research project, some minor forecasting experience, and some kind of leadership position at school says you are motivated, enthusiastic, and can handle alot at once which is what every employer looks for. Right off the bat they dont have to ask if that person fits the criteria we are looking for, they know it. That should at least get you an interview.

This is just a perspective from a recent graduate... cant speak much for what will lie ahead. Hope this helps some of the young guys.. BE INVOLVED WHILE AT COLLEGE and do not waste your time. Enjoy it too, it really should be the best time of your life.

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This is the only way to go about your time as an undergraduate and if you can do this effectively (take on internships and any opportunity that presents itself) you will become marketable. Based on my experience, the people who put that extra time in with unpaid internships have been able to at least land part time jobs right out of college or at least get interviews. Thinking about it now, there are 4-5 of us in that category of part time/full time jobs and we all sacrificed time and money working at the NWS, private companies, or broadcast stations while at school.

A degree in meteorology on your resume says nothing. That along side a minor, an internship or two, a research project, some minor forecasting experience, and some kind of leadership position at school says you are motivated, enthusiastic, and can handle alot at once which is what every employer looks for. Right off the bat they dont have to ask if that person fits the criteria we are looking for, they know it. That should at least get you an interview.

This is just a perspective from a recent graduate... cant speak much for what will lie ahead. Hope this helps some of the young guys.. BE INVOLVED WHILE AT COLLEGE and do not waste your time. Enjoy it too, it really should be the best time of your life.

Excellent post. Also don't be too proud to take your lumps in part-time positions during your winter/summer breaks and after you graduate as well. All experience matters!

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You're still not hearing me...Mets are smart people. Most people, myself included, are doing the things needed to be competitive. The point is, when everyone does these things to "get ahead" and get that competitive edge you still have a higher numer of highly qualified competitive people who are all outstanding candidates but not enough jobs to go around for all of them. I've heard of IT people complaining about finding a job but when I ask them if they are looking outside of the area where they live (meaning they would have to move), they say no. Meteorology appears to be one of the only fields where you can open up where your looking to include the whole country and still not be able to find a job. Also, the difference in the perception (lots of jobs) vs. reality (few jobs) of the job market appears to be greater in meteorology than in most other fields. Finally, did I mention that the position I'm now seeking is techinically "entry level"? It just happens to have far more advancement opportunity than where I am right now. I think it says a lot that someone with many years of experience and great performance reviews can not even get an entry level position.

I never assumed you were an unemployed met.

Yes the competition pool is high in met...but probably not the highest on the job market. I know the IT field and other earth science fields have a very high competition pool as well. It all really boils down to knowing what you need to do in order to put yourself at the top and into the interview pool.

We all know the competition is high...but that isn't a valid excuse if we dont get the job. It is all on us, for either not knowing the level of our competition or for not taking the appropriate measures in our careers to be highly competitive.

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You're still not hearing me...Mets are smart people. Most people, myself included, are doing the things needed to be competitive. The point is, when everyone does these things to "get ahead" and get that competitive edge you still have a higher numer of highly qualified competitive people who are all outstanding candidates but not enough jobs to go around for all of them. I've heard of IT people complaining about finding a job but when I ask them if they are looking outside of the area where they live (meaning they would have to move), they say no. Meteorology appears to be one of the only fields where you can open up where your looking to include the whole country and still not be able to find a job. Also, the difference in the perception (lots of jobs) vs. reality (few jobs) of the job market appears to be greater in meteorology than in most other fields. Finally, did I mention that the position I'm now seeking is techinically "entry level"? It just happens to have far more advancement opportunity than where I am right now. I think it says a lot that someone with many years of experience and great performance reviews can not even get an entry level position.

No I hear what you're saying. I still contend that the only person to blame if you dont get the job you are after is yourself. You can't blame a "highly qualified competition pool". Because...like it or not, that "highly qualified competition pool" is not ever going to go away.

Yes you may need to move or take an undesireable location to gain your position...but that is really the nature of the beast in met and folks should know that going in. It's not for everybody. It's an inherent part of the career path that is similar to other fields like geology.

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A few people mentioned looking outside of meteorology and have positions there i.e. oceanography, hydrology. Can you offer any specific advice as to what to do to better yourself to be qualified for those position and how to go about applying for those jobs with a degree in meteorology (also have a math minor). My interest is within meterorology but I looking to expand my options.

Also, any thoughts about grad school in general and how to make the most of it? I know a few things were already mentioned in this thread.

Thanks!

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Let me explain - 600 - 1000 mets grads per year and growing and less than 300 new jobs. That means jobs for only the top 40% or so. Of those 40% probably only the top 10 or 20% will ever move beyond sweatshop land (thankfully, I have). So you can be a really strong candidate with well above average forecasting skills who works hard, is aware of the competitiion, and all that and still not make it beyond a lousy job that pays 20 - 30 k. the message in this isn't that "you didn't work hard enough" the message is that their are too many mets and that is what the market is trying to say. The market is trying to say with these low salaries is that these highly qualified, highly intelligent, hard working people, are needed elswhere.

No I hear what you're saying. I still contend that the only person to blame if you dont get the job you are after is yourself. You can't blame a "highly qualified competition pool". Because...like it or not, that "highly qualified competition pool" is not ever going to go away.

Yes you may need to move or take an undesireable location to gain your position...but that is really the nature of the beast in met and folks should know that going in. It's not for everybody. It's an inherent part of the career path that is similar to other fields like geology.

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Let me explain - 600 - 1000 mets grads per year and growing and less than 300 new jobs. That means jobs for only the top 40% or so. Of those 40% probably only the top 10 or 20% will ever move beyond sweatshop land (thankfully, I have). So you can be a really strong candidate with well above average forecasting skills who works hard, is aware of the competitiion, and all that and still not make it beyond a lousy job that pays 20 - 30 k. the message in this isn't that "you didn't work hard enough" the message is that their are too many mets and that is what the market is trying to say. The market is trying to say with these low salaries is that these highly qualified, highly intelligent, hard working people, are needed elswhere.

I never implied if you don't get the job it means you didn't work hard enough. I'm saying you didn't do enough specifically for yourself to make the top percentile. You didn't assess your competition well enough in order to swim with them.

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Tough competition in the meteorology field is not an exception, but the norm experienced in many fields (especially those susceptible to global competition). Moreover, unlike the meteorology industry (and one can broaden it to the physical sciences category, which includes even more opportunities and having the flexibility to capitalize on opportunities in that broader segment would be a wise approach) which is projected to enjoy moderate growth, there are actually industries where the absolute number of jobs is projected to decline.

http://www.bls.gov/oco/oco2003.htm

The reality of the post-recession environment is that many fields have stiff or stiffening competition. There is a structural component to unemployment in a number of industries meaning that not every industry will recover to its pre-recession status and some of the job losses will likely be permanent. At the same time, the U.S. fiscal imbalances suggest that the spurt in the number of government jobs created in recent years is likely a temporary phenomenon. In fact, as fiscal consolidation ultimately has to be pursued (by choice or by financial/debt market realities in the medium-term and beyond), slow or negative growth in all categories of government jobs could become a reality. Hence, the private sector will likely account for a larger share of Met jobs than it presently does. Academia, might also, but public higher education institutions face immediate financial challenges that mirror those plaguing their state governments.

What all that means is that today's college students will need to do everything possible to make themselves relevant/attractive, as entry into the job force immediately subsequent to graduation is no longer as seamless or assured as it was in the past, even for graduates from top-tier schools. This challenge confronting the current generation of college students is deeply worrying, as there is empirical evidence that graduates who have difficulty entering the labor force suffer from adverse long-term impacts (future opportunities are fewer, wage growth is less robust, etc.). Some older workers will need to make difficult choices, especially if they were/are participants in industries that are either declining or won't recover fully to their past extent.

Highly educated people, in general, have greater latitude to adapt to job market challenges than those with lesser skills/credentials. Meteorologists/meteorology graduates fall into that category of highly educated people and they are eminently qualified for numerous related fields in the physical sciences that have strong job growth prospects. That doesn't mean things will be easy by any stretch of the imagination nor that their won't be frustration/heartbreak at times, but it does mean that things are not as bleak as they are in some other fields, notably the low-skilled, declining areas from which dislocated workers have little career mobility.

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I guess what I agree with most is that it is important to have a wide range of interests. I am minoring in Environmental Science (who knows where my career path will take me?) and doing internships to get a sense of if research is for me, etc. I think there are plenty of opportunities out there for meteorologists - they just might not all be at your local WFO or your local TV broadcast met office, that's all. :)

I was dead-set on a meteorology major at Rutgers, but decided to major in environmental science at Villanova for a number of reasons, a big one being the future job opportunity. Environmental science is a very new major and it has a lot of similarities to meteorology, and I didn't want to veer too far from my interest. Green science, renewable energy sector, air quality, ect are all very interesting subjects and potential careers. So I think you made a good decision for sure minoring in env science; you've got to broaden your horizons and make yourself more marketable. The good thing about environmental science is it's a pretty broad field, and you can then dive into something more specific for your M.S. (which I plan to do). I love weather but I felt it was important to incorporate the practical approach as well, and that's (at least right now), the opportunities are generally greater in the environmental science / renewable energy sector.

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I was dead-set on a meteorology major at Rutgers, but decided to major in environmental science at Villanova for a number of reasons, a big one being the future job opportunity. Environmental science is a very new major and it has a lot of similarities to meteorology, and I didn't want to veer too far from my interest. Green science, renewable energy sector, air quality, ect are all very interesting subjects and potential careers. So I think you made a good decision for sure minoring in env science; you've got to broaden your horizons and make yourself more marketable. The good thing about environmental science is it's a pretty broad field, and you can then dive into something more specific for your M.S. (which I plan to do). I love weather but I felt it was important to incorporate the practical approach as well, and that's (at least right now), the opportunities are generally greater in the environmental science / renewable energy sector.

That was pretty much the path I took... I was in the Meteo major at Penn State for 2 years, then switched to Energy, Business and Finance, which is also a very broad area of study where you can develop numerous different specialties. Ultimately I want to pursue an M.B.A., preferably in the energy/renewables sectors. Many meteo students at Penn State took the E.B.F. minor (which is called Weather Risk Management or Global Business Strategies) and it helped them greatly in attaining positions at energy and commodities companies which value that kind of background.

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